A matter of perspective

When Dee Dee Allemon needs to reach the A-1 steak sauce on the top shelf, it’s not easy. Back when her kids were younger, they could stand in the grocery cart and swipe it, but nowadays Dee Dee has to get innovative. Sometimes she has to use brooms, canes or umbrellas to knock that sauce down into her cart.

Dee Dee Allemon is just like you, she just has dwarfism.

Later this month, Dee Dee, her husband Bernie and their two children Ben and Allie, will share their daily experiences, medical issues and everyday obstacles, with members of OU’s campus.

“You see little people around but you might not really know what to say to them,” Dee Dee said. “A lot of kids will say ‘Is that a little mom?’ And I’m always like ‘how do they know I’m a mom?’”

As for obstacles the Allemon family goes through, even just trying to get a Happy Meal can present a challenge.

“When you go to McDonald’s you can’t always reach the straws,” Bernie said. “You can’t reach the straws or even the lids that go on the cup. Things like that.”

The challenges aren’t always as simple as not being able to reach a straw, however.

“I think growing up was rougher,” Bernie said. “When you’re younger you get teased a little. I think it’s all a matter of perspective, the way you look at things. It’s the way you hold yourself in the world.”

As for his son, Ben, he doesn’t have dwarfism, but he still has plenty of information to share about his everyday life.

“My day-to-day life is like yours,” Ben said “I don’t know it any other way. It’s not like I ever had an average-sized family at one point.”

Allie shares similar views.

“People always ask me what would you do if your brother was big?” Allie said. “I’m always like… he IS big. I don’t know any difference, so to me I don’t get it. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

The Allemons are all members of Little People of America, a group where little people and average-size folk alike, can meet and discuss their lives.

DeeDee and Bernie actually met through LPA themselves.

“That’s where probably 90 percent of little people meet each other,” Dee Dee said.

More can be learned about LPA, as well as, dwarfism itself at the upcoming lecture.

“We’re willing to share all of this with you so you become comfortable,” said Dee Dee. “So next time you see a little person you can just say ‘Hi, how are you doing today?’ and keep on going. Instead of going ‘oh my god… it’s a little person… oh my god.’”

The lecture will be held from 12-1 on October 30 in the Gold Rooms of the Oakland Center. You can visit lpaonline.org to learn more about dwarfism.